NNOC & BAP statement on AFRICOM airstrike killing 2 Cuban doctors

The National Network on Cuba, Black Alliance for Peace, and Lowcountry Action Committee strongly condemn the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) airstrikes in Somalia reported to have killed 2 Cuban doctors. We mourn the loss of their lives, and we demand the U.S. release all information about the bombing to Cuba and the victims’ families.

Cuba has deployed more than 600,000 health workers to 165 nations over the last six decades on medical missions. Two Cubans serving in Kenya, Dr. Assel Herrera Correa, a specialist in general medicine, and Dr. Landy Rodriguez Hernandez, a surgeon, were kidnapped there in 2019 and held in Jilib, southern Somalia. Unofficial sources reported that a U.S. drone strike in Jilib on February 15 killed the Cuban doctors; an AFRICOM spokesperson confirmed the bombing but would not confirm any civilian casualties. Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs approached the U.S. government through diplomatic channels on February 18, seeking information, and has yet to receive a response. The President of Cuba’s National Assembly is now traveling to Kenya to carry out urgent negotiations and confirm the status of the doctors’ lives.

We call on the U.S. to cooperate with an investigation and to share all information about the attack with Cuba. This attack shows once again that Cuba’s foreign policy is to save lives, while U.S. foreign policy is to occupy, bomb, blockade, and destroy lives. As Cuban leader Fidel Castro famously said, “Our country does not drop bombs on other peoples, nor does it send thousands of planes to bomb cities…Tens of thousands of Cuban doctors have provided internationalist services in the most remote and inhospitable places…Doctors, not bombs.”

U.S. troops should not be occupying Africa in the first place, nor should they be in Cuba at Guantánamo Bay. Despite the disingenuous altruistic spin the U.S. puts on their stated purpose for AFRICOM, its real and only purpose is to use military power to impose U.S. control over African land, resources, and labor in service to Western finance capital. AFRICOM’s drone operations in Africa have only caused violence, vicious anonymity, and “collateral damage.” Primarily in Libya and Somalia, the numbers of confirmed civilian deaths from drones are as high as 3,200 in these two countries, and studies have shown these conditions “have inadvertently aided the growth of terrorist groups in the region.”

We join the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Black Alliance for Peace in calling for an international “Zone of Peace” in the Americas. We stand in solidarity with all people facing imperialist violence, from Gaza to Guantánamo. Unblock Cuba, U.S. out of Africa and shut down AFRICOM, let Cuba live!

Source: U.S.-Cuban Normalization Committee

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